When Edward Thomas died in the First World War, very few of his poems had been published, but he is now recognised as one of the finest and most influential poets of the last century. Although often referred to as ‘a poet’s poet’, his writing has an almost universal appeal. He wrote accessibly, on traditional themes – the natural world, human relationships, transience and mortality. And yet his poetry is alive with the critical intelligence that came from years of writing non-fiction and reviewing verse.
Branch-Lines captures the range of Thomas’s achievement, not least by combining poetry with prose. In this unique collection, fifty-five contemporary poets reflect on Thomas’s craftsmanship and enduring power. Some have chosen poems of their own in which they detect his influence, others have written new poems in his honour. Each poet has also contributed a piece of prose, and the volume contains an introduction, four critical essays, illustrations, a Foreword by Andrew Motion and an Afterword by Michael Longley.
Branch-Lines offers a fascinating perspective on the workings of literary influence, with personal insights from some of the leading poet-critics of our time. ‘The collection has a double value. It is a celebration of Thomas, and dignified tribute to his achievement; at the same time it bears witness to his powers of regeneration.’ – Andrew Motion